Thursday, January 4, 2018

PHOTO RECAP: YAKUZA Chicago Sax Metal Favorites Play Empty Bottle 25th Anniversary Show 12/22/17

It was our great pleasure to catch YAKUZA in concert once again on December 22, 2017. Of course it's fitting they would be in on The Empty Bottle's year long 25th Anniversary Concert Series #EB25, as Yakuza's Vocalist and saxophonist Bruce Lamont is also a longtime fixture behind the bar at EB. 

It was especially sweet to hear Helen Money, “A classical-cellist-turned-avant-metal virtuoso", sit in with them!

Yakuza has been a favorite of mine for years, ever since another Bruce, former priest turned bartender/musician, Bruce (Neal) turned me on to the band when we worked at Facets Multimedia together. 

I was bemoaning the lack of a "Pandora-like" setting that could find bands by weird genre key words like (my actual quote) "heavy metal sax"... when Bruce N. laughed and said, do you know Yakuza? I'd already photographed another of Lamont's bands, Led Zeppelin cover band, LZ2, but hadn't heard of Yakuza at the time. They may never gain huge commercial success, but they have a fervent following and we catch them live every chance we can. They're dissonant, loud, haunting and unlike any other metal band I've experienced. It may be an acquired taste for more traditional headbangers, but theirs is a compelling sound I can't get enough of.

Check out my full set of YAKUZA live show shots in the slide show here and more favorites embedded below. 

I'm also including a sweet video of their whole show from that night via Wwatchthemwatchyou's YouTube Channel:

In another odd coincidence, I had a talk with the guy taping the show, and we discovered we were both frequent tapers at Dead Shows "back in the day". Just goes to show, a passion for live music transcends genres. Crank this one up! 

Via Empty Bottle:
Chicago’s YAKUZA is no stranger to the Empty Bottle stage. Well-known throughout the Chicago metal scene for incorporating jazz and world music elements, they’re basically a genre of their own. Vocalist and saxophonist BRUCE LAMONT notes influencers ranging from PINK FLOYD to GEORGE ORWELL and Ethiopian music. 

Formed in 1999, their debut album Amount to Nothing received critical acclaim from the likes of Terrorizer and Chicago Sun Times. They’ve released a boatload of boundary-crushing albums since and are still rocking as wildly as ever. The four-piece has long shown proclivities for music beyond metal and it's their willingness to incorporate these many and varied influences that sets them apart from their peers, continually pushing the envelope with an adventurousness and experimentation we've come to expect. YAKUZA has carved an unchallenged niche in the metal genre and we’re are excited to have them back for our unforgettable #EB25 anniversary series.

Other Musicians That Night:
Click the links for our photo features.

ALISON CHESLEY aka HELEN MONEY is a cellist who has become known for her adventurous sound, bold compositions, and compelling stage performance. Called “A classical-cellist-turned-avant-metal virtuoso" by the Boston Phoenix, CHESLEY channels her sensibilities and experience as a rock musician through a classical instrument, altering both genres without apology. She has played on over 150 albums with artists such as Disturbed, Bob Mould, Mono, Anthrax, Broken Social Scene, Russian Circles, and Archer Prewitt among others.

Support tonight comes from the one and only SANFORD PARKER. These days, if it’s metal and recorded in Chicago, chances are SANFORD PARKER was at the mixing board. His own bands, MINSK and BURIED AT SEA are super killer as well. We’re honored to witness a master at this craft this evening. Pay close attention and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two!

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